The Post-Tday Report

So how did everyone do?  I did so much better than I thought I would!  I just took a little of this and that.  It really helped that I had already planned my ‘leftovers’ of my favorite foods.  I didn’t feel like I had to eat as much as I could because there wasn’t going to be another chance.

BTW, can I just say that I CANNOT BELIEVE that I have been blogging about the same stuff for this long!  I was looking for an old recipe and found some of my video blogs from three years ago (which, BTW, I’m very sorry that I rambled on for so long in them.)  Anyway, in some way it was comforting to see that I had not changed that much.  And in another way, it was very distressing to see that I had not changed that much…

Back to the topic at hand.  I had a wonderful time with my family. I was very thankful for that. I am thankful for a lot of things this year. I was going to write a post about being thankful on Thanksgiving, but the time slipped away from me.  One of the things I am thankful for is the beautiful fall weather we have had.  It has been just cold enough, and there has been just enough rain.  The color on the trees has not been as dramatic as in past years, but on the other hand, it has been a long slow change, and every day there is something new to see.  I really try to pay attention as I drive around.

I am also very thankful that I am still able to move and exercise. I am enjoying my renewed love of exercise. I went to the physical therapist, and he gave me some beginning exercises. He even made the statement that he thought we could get me back to jogging!  WHAT??  That was not even on my radar screen. What a kick that would be!

I am very traditionally NOT a black Friday shopper.  But I slummed around online, and saw that Lowe’s had a good deal on a stove. Have I told you that my oven has not had a thermostat for quite a while? It was amazing that I was able to bake anything by just guessing that the temp might be around 350 or so.

So I headed down the hill. First thing I saw was one of those infrared heaters that I’ve been stalking for a while. It was on their black Friday sale too, and  was quite a bit cheaper than any I’d seen, so that went into my cart. I went over to check out the stoves. They had the sale stove in stock, but not on the floor. I was really planning to go to the local appliance store to see if they would match the price of Lowe’s.  I had been told that their service was so much better than Lowe’s.  So off I went to the appliance store.  I told the guy what I was looking for, and sure enough, he matched their price on what he said was a superior product. Its just your basic stove, but its new to me! Very exciting!

So do you know how small my kitchen really is?  A stove is 30″X25″. The opening to my kitchen is 26″. The poor delivery guy. I said, I’m pretty strong. Could we lift it over the refrigerator? LOL. I think that offer was what made him get creative. He took the handle off the fridge and got it in there.

So here are a couple of post-holiday recipes for you.

I was watching The Food Network during my bicycle session at the gym, and I saw a pumpkin bread pudding.  That really ignited my imagination, and I started dreaming about how I could create a ‘healthy pumpkin bread pudding.‘ I think I was very successful on my first attempt! Basically using the ingredients for pumpkin custard and my healthified french toast (that I make with whole grain English muffins) I came up with this recipe.  It is good enough that I have eaten all four servings.  I’ve had it for dessert, a snack, and breakfast. Now that’s what you call an all-purpose food! At 140 calories, its a darn good deal.

Then the recipe I was searching for was my “Thanksgiving salad.” Originally I added some avocado, but I did not have that tonight. Basically you could add anything you want to this salad.  Bare bones, it is like a deconstructed turkey sandwich:  lettuce, laughing cow light cheese, cranberry sauce, and turkey.

This salad came in at under 200 calories, with 2 ounces of turkey breast and 1/4 cup of the cranberry sauce I made. I love this flavor combo.

So the cranberry sauce! I had planned to just buy some at the store.  But the stores were all out the day after Thanksgiving. So I found a lone package of cranberries in the produce department and then set about finding a recipe I wanted to try. Cranberries are darn tart on their own. I know that’s why most of the recipes have so much sugar in them. I didn’t want to try to make the orange juice recipe, because the author herself says it is tart. Plus, I didn’t want that much orange flavor in my cranberry sauce. I looked and looked for a lower sugar recipe. And then I thought APPLES! Apples are naturally sweet. So I googled apple cranberry sauce, and found this recipe. Of course I had to change it just a little bit because I didn’t have all of the ingredients ( just sub’d fresh orange juice for the apple juice.) And to be honest, it was STILL quite tart. And then my brilliant BF said, why don’t you just add a little Splenda to it? Bingo! For me this was perfection. At 35 calories for 1/4 cup, quite the bargain! It is very fun to see the cranberries turn into sauce–kinda magical.

I do believe this is the end of this long and rambly post. I hope all of you had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving celebration! Oh! I will leave you with a candid shot of Noah pretending that he is not on the sofa.

What if?

What if you’re not in control of the Thanksgiving Feast? What if someone else is in charge of all the cooking, and you have no say over what is going to be served? What if the person doing the cooking doesn’t think the same way you do about food and healthy nutrition?

What do you do?

  • Do you fight and whine?
  • Do you just give up and go with the flow?
  • Or do you have a plan?

Admission:  control freak here. And I find myself in the position I described in the first paragraph–I am not in control of the Thanksgiving meal! And then I found myself going through the process I listed above. Gah!  It was almost like going through the stages of grief!

All of us are in different places in our relationship with food.  And most of us have found ourselves in different stages at different times in the journey. Right now I am at a point where I am very serious about trying to lose some weight and eat as healthily as possible.  So after I got over being mad/sad/whining/giving up, and after my good friend reminded me that it was my responsibility to moderate my intake, not my hosts, I made a plan.

I looked at the menu and noticed that there was no fruit.  I will ask nicely if I can bring a fruit salad.  I have all the fruit ready and have a terrific recipe in my head. I also bought a bag of baby carrots to add to the hors d’oeuvres’ platter. If they don’t want a fruit salad, I will bring an asian pear or an apple with me, and eat it in the car on the drive over. I used to do this way back when I first started Weight Watchers. I would eat a piece of fruit in the car on the way to meet my friends at a restaurant for lunch. That way I wasn’t too hungry and it was easier to make good choices.

Part 2 of my plan:  Since I am not doing the cooking on Thanksgiving, I am planning on cooking a modified Thanksgiving meal for myself, so I will have ‘leftovers.’ I bought a turkey breast to cook (how much leftover turkey does one girl need?) and of course I have a cauliflower in the fridge to make some cauliflower mash.  I would like some cranberry sauce, but I don’t want to have too much hanging around the house. Maybe I can figure out how to make a mini batch.

If all else fails (meaning, I eat too much,) I will be kind and remind myself that it is one day. And that is what it is. I am not eating differently up to the day, and I will not eat differently after the day.

Oh, and maybe I should spend a little more time thinking about the real meaning of the day…

What are YOU doing for Thanksgiving this year?

Jill calls the holiday season–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas–the Trifecta of Diet Doom! Check out her description of it–writing perfection!  It can seem like that. We can be tempted to just give up and indulge this time of year.

But with just a substitution or two, you can turn your Thanksgiving feast into something just as delicious, but a whole lot healthier. Here are two of my favorite “special” vegetable recipes from the past year.

First up is a green bean recipe that will put that old green bean casserole recipe to shame. I cannot tell a lie. I had nothing to do with this recipe. It is Balsamic Glazed Green Beans and Pearl Onions. A most worthy side dish at only 53 calories per serving!

Next is one of my all-time favorite “comfort food” recipes. This idea for this recipe originally came in my health insurance newsletter–so it has to be healthy, right? It is Cauliflower Potato Bake. Somewhat reminiscent of Potatoes au Gratin. Definitely healthified, at only 66 calories per serving. I actually think this dish is perfect paired with a baked ham. Because everybody knows you have to have MASHED potatoes with turkey, right? Tada! I give you Mashed Cauliflower. Don’t turn your nose up at it until you try it (Cammy, you’re excused.) It only took me two years of hearing about mashed cauliflower before I would try it! And now its one of my favorite veggies! And I felt especially vindicated when I heard some of the top chefs on The Food Network mentioning ‘cauliflower mash.’ Its so good and creamy that you don’t even need gravy. (But at only 40 calories per serving, you can afford a little gravy on top!)

What are your favorite healthified Thanksgiving recipes?  Or do you just indulge for the day?  I think I am still a bit of a volume eater, so I like to have a few healthy choices and have bigger servings.


Some Excitement Going On!

Monk doesn’t look excited, but he is following me from place to place, hoping I will finally settle down and he can have some quality lap time.

Sophie says:  What is going on?  Does it involve food?  Will there be popcorn?  (Sophie goes after popcorn like a crocodile going after…well, like a crocodile.)

Sophie is closer to the truth! I had an exciting opportunity very unexpectedly drop into my lap!  I was asked to be the “healthy blogger” for The Quilt Show, a huge online community of quilters!  So for what seems like weeks (but its only been a couple of days) I have been obsessing about working on the first blog entry–about popcorn!  The Quilt Show has an internet show every two weeks, and I really look forward to it.  Over the past few years I’ve developed the habit of having popcorn with my Quilt Show viewing, so I thought that that would be a good first blog.  Who knew it would be so hard to write about popcorn?  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you can check out their daily blog without being a member.  My intro and first post are set to go live on Saturday and Sunday.

Anyway, if you are over here visiting from The Quilt Show, a big welcome to our healthy living/weight loss/weight maintenance community.  I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years, so there’s plenty to see.  Feel free to look around.  You might want to check out my “about me” page.  Or if you’re a dog lover, you could click on the Noah Speaks category over there on the side bar.  Noah is my big white dog.  He was quite the challenge to raise, and we sorted some of it out by allowing him to write a few blog entries from his perspective.

Originally I wrote a lot about weight loss and weight maintenance.  In between I wrote about everything else in my life.  At this stage, I am trying to write a little more about just living a whole and healthy life.  In doing that, I try to be very honest about what is going on in my life.  So some of my blog posts are not always cheery and upbeat (ha!–see previous post LOL.)  But I do love to laugh (thus the frequent use of the irritating LOL.  LOL heheh.)  Anyway, welcome!  It is late, and some little doggies have been waiting very patiently for some lap time.


Negative Tapes

A few weeks ago I had a very bad day.  Maybe more than one day.  Here’s a little bit of how it went.

I needed to get dog food that day.  The can was completely empty, so that was the day I needed to go.  The dog food I use (BTW, Costco brand dog food has some pretty good reviews, and it has glucosamine right in it) is in the big city.  But actually it is in 3 big cities.  I couldn’t decide which city I wanted to go to.  I couldn’t decide what else I wanted to do for fun.  I couldn’t decide what/when/where I wanted to eat while I was there.  I put my head down on the table and thought what is wrong with you?  You can’t even make a decision about how to have fun.

Before I left, I played a couple of video games on my Kindle Fire.  Negative tape:  What a loser.  You are wasting your entire life playing stupid video games.  Actual time elapsed:  15 minutes.

I finally figured out a plan, but before I left, I did a quick vacuum.  This time of year, I don’t even put the vacuum away.  I usually vacuum every day or two (thank you, Noah.)  Negative tape:  you are such a slob.  Why don’t you vacuum more often/better/more thoroughly?

I headed out to the car, but before I left, I went over and worked on the wood pile for a bit. I straightened up some of the stacks, and brought in some wood for the wood stove, and then covered the stacks with the tarps.  There was news of a storm coming in.  Negative tape:  (for weeks previous–what is wrong with you?  You can’t even get outside to even up your stacks of firewood?  What a lazy bum.)  That day–what a half-assed job you did.  Other people have such neat stacks of firewood.  What is wrong with you?

I got in the car to leave, and it hit me.  Evidently, almost nothing I did was good enough.

I am not a psychologist, or even a self-acceptance blogger.  Karen does that much better than me.  I hesitated to write about this because I don’t have a definitive solution for it.  I do think that recognizing a problem is half the battle.  I’m not sure the Stuart Smalley approach is helpful.  Although just watching that does make me laugh.

I don’t do daily affirmations.  But I have thought about what I do accomplish, and why I don’t accomplish all that I think I should.  I talked to my best friend.  She knows me better than almost anybody, and she is good about being truthful AND affirming at the same time.  She asked, “exactly how many hours in a day do you think its acceptable to be ‘slovenly?’ (my word, not hers.)  I thought about it and said, well, I guess I think that no time is acceptable for that.

Last Saturday, I got to meet up with one of my very long time blog friends!! (ack—bad blogger admission here-no photographic evidence!)  Juice just recently moved out here all the way from Baltimore.  And she mentioned to me that owning her own home, and all the upkeep and repairs that go with that, had caused her more anxiety than she had realized. This was a good reminder to me.  Keeping up a house is a lot of work for one person.

And then there’s the whole aging thing.  Oh, Iets talk about that tomorrow, when I can stand it better…

Just so you know, I am fine.  I don’t need any positive affirmations or anything.  In fact, I waited until I was feeling more positive to actually write this blog.  Probably the very best thing for me to do is to actually PRAY the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Much better than yelling “SERENITY NOW,”  don’t you think?

I don’t think dogs have negative tapes, do you?

Sophie, in her favorite alternative throne and a rare moment of serenity:

Monk, serenity-master (Mr. Monk had a dental with four extractions and some surgery on his foot this week–came through with flying colors!):

Bess, practicing serenity in Mr. Monk’s chair:

Noah, in a serene moment:

And on a completely unrelated subject, I found this Muppets video on “The Cat Came Back” LOL-worthy.

I Love Exercise?

Last night I re-wrote my “About Me” page.  Gah!  I hadn’t re-done it since I started this blog.   I decided to keep the same picture.  If Mary Higgins Clark can do it, I guess I can too.

So when I wrote “I love exercise” on that page, it was true.  It has been something of a revolution to me that I have just recently begun to admit that the truth of the matter is that I love exercise.  Not “I need to exercise,” or “exercise is necessary for long term weight loss maintenance,”  but “I want to exercise.”  Another one of those neuropathways that took a LOOOOONG time to change.

Accepting that as a fact has started to change how I view the time I spend exercising.  In the past that has been a big issue for me.  Now, since I love exercise, it makes sense that I would drive down to the gym, even if it does take a chunk of time out of my afternoon.  I am finding that it is a good motivator to work more consistently in the morning (whether it is housework or quilting) so that I can finish by 2 or 3 o’clock and head to the gym.

And since my official diagnosis of arthritis, I have changed up a few things.  I am still walking.  That just makes life more pleasant with dogs in the house.  I no longer feel guilty for making my walks shorter.  In fact, I am congratulating myself for doing what was best for me.

At the gym, I have enjoyed getting back on the bike.  I am experimenting with the different modes and settings and making it more of a challenging workout.  Some of you will be happy to hear that I EVEN BROKE A SWEAT yesterday.  So much so that I felt like going for a swim afterwards.  Oh yeah, last week I bought one of those swim shirts.  I have to say, it really does help.  Plus, there’s that ‘carrot at the end of the stick’–the spa.  If I will just get in the pool and swim a few laps, I get to get in the spa afterwards.  Once I am in the pool, I always swim more than a ‘few laps.’

I am totally loving getting back to working out on the weights.  I have adjusted some of the leg exercises, and I am anxious to talk to the physical therapist to get more specific information on which exercises will work best.  I am back to working on my 100 pound bench press challenge.

And there are other things to explore–the rowing machine, and maybe a yoga class or two.

I love exercise.  Who knew?

And Now, The Rest of the Story

I think I’ve been writing food blogs to avoid writing about the other big issue in my life right now.  My joints hurt.  Actually, after the g—– fiasco, I was kind of afraid to follow up “I eat grains occasionally” with ” my joints hurt.”  LOL.  So I decided to wait until after my ortho appointment to write about it.

Something weird happened while I was in Sisters.  My hips started hurting so bad that I had a hard time sleeping.  I was hopeful it was the bed or the chair that I sat in, and hoped it would go away when I got home.  It was even worse when I got home.  As in “so this is why people sit down in a wheelchair and never get up.”  Now its pretty much gone.  So my conclusion is that it was probably the long drive in the car.  The ortho doc did not have an answer for that.  And besides, he was more focused on my knee, which is what the original appointment was for.

Arthritis.  That’s pretty much what is wrong with me.  The arthritis in the right knee has probably caused some other damage, like to the meniscus, but not the kind that can be repaired by surgery (yay?)

He recommended a treatment/shot called Synvisc One.  It is some kind of gel (found in rooster combs) that they inject into the knee, and even though it doesn’t stay, it somehow stimulates your own cartilage to work better.  I already found out it costs almost $1000, so my part is $200.  What a ridiculous price for rooster combs.  I should grow my own.  You can get 50 baby roosters for about $10.  (Shelley’s comment to this:  “I know you can grow your own roosters, but pretty sure it would be hard to, you know, OFF THEM for their combs. 😉 )

I gave them my history, and told them how important exercise was to me.  I listed the kinds of exercise I am doing now:  weight lifting, swimming, and walking up and down hills.  He said he wants me to stay active, and basically I can do any exercise, concentrating on non-weight bearing. He was big on biking!   Even gave me his recommendation for the best bike trainers.  He also mentioned rowing a couple of times.  Which, at first I thought, I’m not getting out in a boat on a lake.  And then I remembered there were rowing machines at the gym… Plus he gave me a physical therapy referral.  That helped so much with my back, so I am looking forward to going to that.

And basically, the goal is to ‘keep me going’ until I hit 65 and can get a knee replacement….

Oh, and we also talked about weight.  I gave him my weight history, my interest in food and nutrition.  And he said a good goal weight for me would be 140.  You know, that sounds like a dream come true in some ways.  I just don’t know if I can get there, much less maintain that.  I am glad he brought it up.  I know that there is a lot of personal testimony out there about the difference that weight can make on joint pain (including my own experience!)  But I wanted to hear an orthopedic doctor say that it could make a difference.

And I asked about grains.  “There is no evidence that any one food has any negative or positive affect on your joints.  Only as it applies to weight reduction.”

So.  What am I going to do?  For today, I am going to go to the gym and work out on the weights (which I have been avoiding until I went to the ortho doc) and then I’m going to hit the rowing machine and the bikes.  I’m still in the thinking stage about the weight loss.  Lots of disconnected thoughts running around in my mind.  I’ll keep that for a separate post.  Hopefully after the thoughts connect a bit more.


Broccoli Slaw Two Ways

I posted the delicious broccoli slaw the other day.

And then I remembered why I had originally picked up the package of broccoli slaw.  I wanted to try cooking it.  Fortunately I had gotten another bag of it at TJ’s last week.  So tonight I threw the whole package (140 cal) in the pan and cooked it, added those leftover veggies (53 cal) from last night, some pre-cooked shrimp (90 cal,) some crumbled bacon (70 cal,) one container (2 servings, 310 cal) of brown rice, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil (130 cal.)  Seasoned with some pepper and soy sauce.  Four big servings of delicious for less than 200 calories each!  I love the texture of the broccoli slaw in this.  And no extra work for me–win-win!!

Based on my basic fried rice recipe.

I am definitely on a cooking jag lately.  I made another batch of homemade yogurt today, and there was still some leftover milk, so I dug a box of the sugar free chocolate yogurt out of the cupboard, and made a batch of that.  I like that pudding once in a while!  I’m going to have a bowl of that tonight, and then give the little guys some lap time.